Industry Consolidation: Showpad Buys Storydesk

by Orrin Broberg, on Jan, 8, 2015

Just before Christmas, Modus competitor Showpad acquired Storydesk in what may be the first of many changes in the mobile sales app market.


From TechCrunch: “Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, in what otherwise is a customer-base acquisition only and will see Storydesk’s 70-strong customers transitioned over to Showpad’s platform.” 

Seventy customers may not seem like a lot at first glance -- but that number is significant, considering each customer could potentially have thousands of users. That is a lot of people who now need to switch their mobile sales app platform.

After any acquisition, the natural reaction is to question why it happened. To better understand the reasons behind changes like this, we need to first look into the current state of the mobile sales app market, and what the data tells us about its future. When you consider current market data on adoption of mobile technology (89% of sales managers report that app-based solutions improve productivity.) Over 80% say they plan to implement a mobile sales strategy (sourced from this infographic).

What I’ve learned over time is that any industry with new and emerging technology will see a flood of new players and new innovators early on. As a result, you have a variety of competitors with different approaches to solve a similar problem. Ultimately, what will occur is a consolidation of the fragmented market. The result is fewer players with more polarized offerings. In some cases, when a smaller (possibly even technically superior, such as Storydesk) product or company is acquired, some of the features -- even good ones -- disappear, leaving consumers with fewer options to meet their needs despite the highly populated marketplace. This could potentially be the case concerning the Showpad/Storydesk acquisition.

In 2012, I saw the entrance of competitors into the mobile sales app industry. Based on past experience, I could predict the industry would start seeing the shift toward consolidation near the end of 2014, and that is now becoming a reality. The emergence of key players is only the beginning -- just look at the evolution of the personal computer or telecom industries. In technology, it’s natural for consolidations, exits and startups to continually occur. I’m certain that this isn’t the last acquisition or merger to take place in the mobile sales app industry.

To be clear, this acquisition is in no way a poor reflection on Storydesk. They have a great product, and even compare favorably to Modus in some respects. Storydesk and Modus have a similar focus on the alignment of marketing and sales, while allowing sales reps to have access to only the most accurate content available when they’re out in the field. Often, apps have a certain feature or benefit for which they’re considered and ultimately selected. For Modus and Storydesk, that benefit is that our apps were designed from a marketing standpoint to better control, organize and disseminate marketing materials. Showpad appears to have a different perspective.

We understand that these changes in strategy, ownership and technology direction happen. However, we want to make sure Storydesk’s customer base is aware of the available options. Since Modus’s functionality is so similar to Storydesk, a transition from their app to our’s is very simple. We know that not all of Storydesk’s customers will be thrilled about having to transition to any new and foreign platform, so we decided to make it as easy as possible for former clients of Storydesk to make the switch to Modus.

Unlike most of our competitors, we are not located on the West or East coasts.  We’re based in St. Paul, Minnesota, and are proud of our Midwest work ethic and attention to customer satisfaction. But don’t take our word for it -- see what our customers have to say. If you’re a Storydesk user, we’d love to talk with you, send me an email and let’s talk!